Anzhi 0 Newcastle United 0 – Boring Is Good!
We might not have learnt much about the opposition but we saw a very disciplined and assertive performance from Newcastle United that bodes well for the short and long-term.
A shocking surface meant that Alan Pardew generally went for players with a lower centre of gravity who could turn and twist on the frozen artificial pitch.
A great display with for me the likes of Mapou, Cabaye and Sissoko taking the honours, all three prepared to take responsibility and keep the ball when the tendency was to get rid as soon as possible.
Chances were at a premium and while Elliot made an excellent low save from Eto’o, Ben Arfa didn’t make the most of the best chance of the game when great link-up play saw him fed the ball but his attempted dink over the keeper just failed to beat him as he stayed tall.
Newcastle will no doubt facing a better Anzhi side at St.James’ Park but the Russians will see a lot more of Alan Pardew’s big hitters in the return leg.
United became the first team to take a point from Anzhi at ‘home’ and also the first visitors to keep a clean sheet, Liverpool one of those defeated earlier in the campaign.
This is a great result and must make Newcastle favourites to go through, Howay The Lads!
Anzhi: Gabulov, Eschenko (LOgashov 90), Carlos, Ewerton, Zhirkov, Da Silva, Diarra, Ahmedov, Willian (Traore 23), Shatov (Gonzalez 84), Eto’o
Newcastle United: Elliot, Simpson, Perch, Mapou, Haidara, Anita (Taylor 75), Cabaye (Tiote 84), Sissoko, Marveaux, Obertan, Ben Arfa (Shola 65)
Unused Subs: Alnwick, Santon, Bigirimana, Campbell
Ref: Istvan Vad (Hungary)
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